Environmental Studies: Student Testimonials

Gabriel Shifferaw

Majors: Environmental Studies & Environmental Science

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
Passion for the environment. Peace & Harmony
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

Environmental Studies is a program that attempts to tackle detrimental environmental issues in order to force society towards a more equitable and sustainable future. Environmental studies is holistic program because it integrates many different disciplines including the hardcore sciences (chemistry, biology, physics) and social sciences (including politics, law and human psychology.) Being part of the environmental studies program is an amazing experience in many different ways. For one, UTSC provides direct knowledge about the environment along with access to our own professors who are expert scientists. This allows students to actively participate in environmental assessments and to engage in professional trainings and discussions with the leading experts in our field. Additionally, as a student of Environment Studies you also undergo environmental application where we put all the course work into use in a final project with organizations that are making a difference in the environment. I had an amazing experience working with the Government of New Brunswick and WWF Canada in my senior year.
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
1. Follow your passions
2. Ask a lot of questions
3. Open your mind to the world and all it's complexity.

What will you do with your degree after graduation?
Finding ways for the environment, people and money to work in harmony with one another. I currently work with the City of Toronto under the Youth Cabinet working to promote environmental harmony in our city.
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
It was a long journey before I arrived at this program. I initially enrolled at UTSC for Health Sciences then later switched to Biochemistry, which I hated with a passion. I later switched into Psychology and lastly Economics. In the middle of my third year, just as confused as I was in my first year, I took a intro class to environmental studies and I loved it, and that's what my program became. 4th year I was able to utilize a majority of my courses to complete my environmental science program and I took a 5th year to conclude my Environmental Studies program. In my fifth year I was able to do the senior year capstone course with Jim MacLellan, which I highly recommend.